Ellie is excited about running in her first marathon race in several months’ time.  She's not quite sure how much preparation time she'll need for practice. Fortunately, her friends Cathy and Ranjeev are experienced marathon runners. They agree to help Ellie get ready for her first marathon.

Happy women during their first marathon training

Whether you're a novice like Ellie or a more experienced marathoner like her friends Cathy and Ranjeev, following a few essential tips can help you succeed in your marathon training regime.

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Tip#1: Get a Medical Check-up Before Your First Marathon Training

It's important to ensure that you're physically fit and healthy before you take part in any physically and mentally demanding sport. So, it's a good idea to consult with your doctor before you start your marathon practice sessions.

Doctor checking patient's arterial blood for the first marathon training

Tip #2: Make Your First Marathon Training Plan

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💡 Create a plan that contains a running schedule.

Design it to fit your lifestyle so you can commit to it. Get the most out of your plan by trying out different strategies:

  • Start training runs four to six months in advance to give you time to prepare.

🏃🏽 Try: Completing weekly progressive runs with one long run per week of 10-11 miles (16-18 km).

🏃🏽 Try: Alternating long runs with short runs of 3-4 miles (4.8-6.4 km) and medium runs of 7-8 miles (11-13 km).

Mo Farah practising his first marathon training.

  • Include warm-up and cool-down stretching exercises before and after each run. This delivers oxygen to your muscles, increases blood circulation, and supports your physical performance and endurance.

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  • Build body strength and endurance with low impact exercises on non-running days.

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  • Include rest and recovery days to let your muscles recover from intense training to prevent mental burnout and injuries.

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  • Compete in shorter 5K and 10K races, or a half marathon. To help you to build stamina for long distances and run with other competitors.

⚡Time for a Knowledge Check!

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Cathy did practice runs this week, completing two fast-paced, 2-mile runs, a long run, a medium run, and one mile at lunchtime today.

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Ellie increased her mileage this week with four practice runs: two short runs and a medium run, and a one-mile run yesterday.

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This week Ranjeev completed three practice runs: a long run, a short run, and three miles this morning.


Who has completed the most practice run miles in preparation for the marathon race? Refer to the suggested mile distances in the previous step.

Tip #3: Focus on Health and Nutrition

Proper meal planning is essential to succeed in your first marathon training goals. Prepare and eat nutritious meals that are high in carbohydrates, protein, and calcium to build body and muscle strength.

Photo by Chen Mizrach on Unsplash Photo by Chen Mizrach on Unsplash

🏃🏽Try to include a variety of foods in your diet like fresh fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, whole grains, nuts, beans, and lentils. This will help build your strength and boost your stamina.

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🏃🏽Try to drink plenty of fluids (water and sports drinks) to keep properly hydrated. On runs, eat energy-filled snacks or protein bars to maintain your energy and running pace.

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Tip #4: Get the Right Running Gear

Choose comfortable clothing, footwear, and accessories designed for marathon running that won't impede your performance.

Running Shoes 👟

You're going to log a lot of miles. Wear running shoes you’ve trained in several times that are well broken inWearing new or ordinary tennis shoes could result in an injury.

  • Buyyour shoes from a specialty running shoe store andhave your feet professionally measured for a proper fit.

Close up of male and female legs wearing running shoes

Running Socks 🧦

Wearing normal socks can result in blisters to the heels and toes causing pain which could prevent you finishing your run or a race.

  • Protect your feet with double-layered, synthetic running socks that offer an extra layer of cushion to prevent your feet from getting blisters.

closeup image of an athlete's shoes and socks on a track field. Photo by Malik Skydsgaard on Unsplash

Clothing Apparel 👚🩳

Set yourself up for running success in all weather conditions.

  • Wear moisture-wicking clothing to regulate your body temperature to keep you warm and cool.

  • Visit a specialist sportswear store to try different marathon clothing such as running shorts, tops, leggings, and jackets that are comfortable and suit your body type.

Image of runners in a race wearing a variety of clothing appropriate for running. Photo by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash

Running Accessories

Download mobile phone or smartwatch apps to:

  • monitor your running pace and heart rate

  • plan your running route maps

  • enable GPS tracking to improve running performance

  • listen to your favorite music, audiobooks or podcasts

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Visit this link to read about some popular running apps you can choose from.

Image of a female runner in motion who is wearing running friendly gear.

⚡Test Your Knowledge!

Ellie is visiting her friends, Cathy and Ranjeev, from out of town. They've invited her to participate in a fun 5K race taking place soon. She has never competed in a 5K run before and thinks it will be fun. She ran 10 miles in practice runs this week. She's wearing a pair of Cathy's running shoes, which are a tight fit.

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Ranjeev is recovering from a severe skin rash. He’s wearing running shoes and new shorts. He’s eager to start running and competing in the 5K Fun Run.

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Cathy is a vegan and meticulous about eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet. She's an active long-distance runner and is wearing running attire.

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Which of the three friends is best prepared for the upcoming 5K race?


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